Taking into account national interests

The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko took part in CSTO summit, held in Moscow
The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko took part in CSTO summit, held in Moscow.

The order of the day of the Collective Security Council session included 15 questions but all the attention — of the Presidents and of the press as well — was drawn to one topic: the appreciation of the situation at Caucasus by the nearest allies.

Seven states — Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan — signed a Treaty on collective security and founded a cognominal organization. They are allies in the direct meaning of this word (in a military meaning as well). Pro forma South Ossetia is not included into the CSTO area of responsibility, but instability in this area is the most serious provocation to the security of a few states — the participants of the organization. First of all, for sure, of Russia.

Summarizing the results of the meeting at the highest level a mutual declaration was accepted. Due to this declaration the CSTO has a strong intention to guarantee security in its area of responsibility. The regulation of international, regional and local conflicts and crises, insist the states-participants, should be carried out by means of the political and diplomatic measures in accordance with the norms of the international rights and taking into consideration the interests of both the sides. As relates to the so-called frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet area, then there was a call-in to solve them only amicably within the bounds of the already existing conference mechanisms.

The member states of the CSTO also supported “an active role of Russia in the assistance to peace and cooperation in the region”. “The seven” as comes from the text, “is deeply anxious about the undertaken by Georgia attempt of the forced solving of the conflict in South Ossetia which led to numerous victims among the peaceful populace and peacemakers and also resulted in difficult humanitarian consequences”. As it is known, Belarus expressed sincere countenance to Russia.

The main positions of the declaration were stated by Dmitry Medvedev at the final press-conference in the Georgievsky hall of the Kremlin. By the way, near the entrance to this hall there hangs a great picture of the artist Prisekin “The one who comes to us with a sword, dies by a sword”… Addressing the journalists, the Russian President confirmed that Russia is for political and diplomatic regulation of any conflicts but “when it is necessary Russia is ready to fight for her own hand harshly henceforth”.

D.Medvedev made one more important and expected statement. He specified that the CSTO countries would independently make decisions about recognition or non-recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s independence, guided by their national interests. “Russia considers it to be absolutely right”, — added the President of Russia.

My question to Dmitry Medvedev at the press-conference was the following: “Which conclusions and generalizations should be made out of the recent events at Caucasus?” Firstly, according to the President of Russia, nobody has the right to kill innocent people and peacemakers who stay in the area of a conflict lawfully. Secondly, CSTO has to carry out a compatible foreign policy and to strengthen the military component of the organization. Thirdly, he thought, on the 8th of August the existing security architecture proved its weakness, the international community has to think of some new mechanisms creation.

These estimations sounded a due with the initiatives of the Belarusian side. Taking into account the obligations, accepted by the CSTO countries, Minsk considered it necessary to continue the development of the regional grouping of the Belarus and Russia troops. As the main indemnitor of the collective military security at the western direction of the CSTO responsibility area. It is evident that the potential of the organization’s flexible and forehanded reaction to the modernity challenges should be strengthened.

In this context such an aspect is also relevant. In due course the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization signed a decision connected with the creation of the coordinating councils dealing with the illegal immigration and emergency conditions. Though there are no real returns from these structures work yet. In the opinion of the Belarusian side, their order of the day should be filled with some concrete joint ventures. There should be worked out an overarching strategy on the counterstand to the asymmetrical security challenges.

Minsk calls-in to pay the closest attention to the suppression of the terrorist activity in the CSTO area of responsibility. In this context the foundation of the Antiterrorist Committee in the CSTO format would have eliminated the existing gap in the organization’s work in this direction.

Belarus also suggested to hold a cooperative military-business game under the aegis of the Secretariat and the Organization’s joint headquarters. The script is a counteraction to the modern security challenges and threats. The Ministries of Defence and the Ministries of Critical Emergencies, internal troops, agencies of national security can be attracted to participate in it. During “the game” the CSTO countries-partners would have a possibility to work coordination of actions of different structures while solving the crisis situations of political, military, humanitarian, technogenic and informative characters.

One more important moment testifies the necessity of the more dynamic mutual relations development not only inside the CSTO. Belarus stood out and stands out for the close cooperation of the integration communities in the post-Soviet area. For the creation of the multilevel system of the collective replies on the security challenges and threats. Each of the operating agencies — CSTO, EurAsEC, CIS — has its own purposes which can be solved in the existing formats. Today CSTO and EurAsEC are building close mutual relations, their additionality is evident. The Belarusian side thinks that CSTO and EurAsEC have some good possibilities for the further cooperation development. The perfection of the CSTO normative legal base would promote the further adaptation to the modern geopolitical conditions.
These are very reasonable initiatives. And their acceptance by the countries-participants of the organization can strengthen the admitted at the summit document.

For the Russian diplomacy which curates South Ossetia and Abkhazia independence now, the declaration is a step forward. Especially against the careful formulations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) recent summit, where Russia is also a member. The SCO members confined themselves to express “a deep concernment in connection with the emersed tension around the South Ossetia question.”

None of the CSTO states can stay clear from the conflict at Caucasus. Russia protected its citizens. Armenia and Azerbaijan are the geographical neighbours of Georgia, moreover, they have their own “frozen” territorial dispute. Kazakhstan invested into Georgia’s economy greatly. Belarus? We are building a Federal Union together with Russia and in every respect can be considered the closest allies including inside the CSTO.

The accepted declaration calls the countries of NATO to consider all the possible results of the alliance’s expansion to the East and of the new ABM objects location at the borders of the CSTO countries-members. “The important step could have been the tuning of cooperation between the CSTO and NATO considering the questions of the resistance to drug and terroristic threat coming from Afghanistan and in general creation of the stable state of this country”, — it is said in the document.

There took place a dual meet of Alexander Lukashenko and Dmitry Medvedev on the CSTO summit day where the Presidents discussed some relevant questions of Belarus and Russia bilateral cooperation.

Igor Slavinsky
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